Conciliation is a common tool used to resolve disputes over the handling of construction and plant engineering contracts. Its primary objective is to help the parties involved reach an amicable settlement. In the process, the conciliator selected and appointed by the parties moderates the attempt to achieve a consensus and, if required, presents a proposal for settlement to the parties. If the settlement efforts are not successful, it is normal practice for the conciliator to present an expert opinion in reply to the questions in dispute submitted to him/her. However, the conciliator usually has no authority to make binding decisions.

The basis for conducting a conciliation is a conciliation agreement between the parties involved pertaining to a specific dispute in which the rules for the conciliation proceeding are generally also specified. In Germany, several national institutions have developed sample clauses and rules of procedure which can be referred to in this regard. These include in particular: